The final four players are oscillating between being bunched tightly in chips and having one player stretch a slim lead; they’re evenly matched in experience, skill and, so far, help from the deck. With the blinds creeping up, however, it would only take one big match-up to end the dreams of the trophy for one of these tough competitors who seem just as confident in a marathon as a sprint.
First to act, Christoph Vogelsang raised to 175,000 with . Button Mikita Badziakouski flatted with . Heads up to a flop, though it was Vogelsang who’d hit top pair, it was Badziakouski who took over betting. Vogelsang called his 175,000 flop bet, and his 525,000 bet on the turn, before checking a final time on the river, having spiked a second pair with the . Badziakouski considered this card for a while, his opponent’s stack just under the pot now, but elected to give up at this juncture.
A raise to 165,000 on the button from Christoph Vogelsang with brought small blind Timothy Adams along to a flop of with . Adams check-raised Vogelsang’s 90,000 flop bet to 300,000 and got a call, but not when he continued betting (525,000) on the turn.
Adams limped his small blind when it folded to him with , calling when Vogelsang, with , raised to 240,000. Vogelsang got a 115,000 call out of him on the flop but lost him on the turn when he bet 540,000.
Timothy Adams took a sizeable pot from Mikita Badziakouski (along with a few smaller pots), seeing a flop from the big blind with ; Badziakouski on the button had raised preflop with to 130,000. Something for both of them: Adams check-called a 100,000 bet from Badziakouski here to see a turn. Both players checked, Adams leading on the river for 425,000. Badziakouski made the call and this pot evens up all four players’ stacks yet further.
Small blind Timothy Adams raised to 250,000 when it folded to him on the small blind with and big blind Christoph Vogelsang called with , flopping top pair: . Adams led for 145,000 and was called fairly swiftly. On the turn, Adams checked and Vogelsang not-so-swiftly checked behind. The on the river gave Adams a second pair; he bet out 230,000 and was sigh-called.
40,000 / 80,000
Big Blind Ante
Christoph Vogelsang raised his button with to 130,000, called by both blinds. Small blind Ben Heath, with , and big blind Timothy Adams, with , checked the flop to Vogelsang, who bet 120,000, Heath alone calling.
The turn paired the board with the , no bet. The on the river saw Heath stab at it with a bet of 60,000, Vogelsang calling quickly and showing down a winning pair of kings.
Mikita Badziakouski raised in the cutoff to 135,000 with , called by small blind Ben Heath with , flopping sevens full of eights. He led out for 125,000 and Heath made the call. After the turn, the board stood . Badziakouski bet out 375,000 and the hand went no further.
A big river move with ace-high from Mikita Badziakouski has stopped Christoph Vogelsang from running away with the lead (the German having added to his stack with some creative play recently, including setting Ben Heath all in on the river of a board for 2,000,000 with , Heath folding after an intense period of consideration).
With 500,000 in the pot already, Vogelsang, with , led out for 170,000 on a board of and found Badziakouski raising to 600,000 – with . Vogelsang considered this for a while, looked like he was reaching for chips, and at the last minute flicked his cards one at a time into the muck.
It seems that all four remaining finalists have now spent some time at both the top and the bottom of the chip counts, tested both as a short stack and with the power of chips behind them.
It’s Timothy Adams’ turn to bring up the rear stackwise, after a pot against Mikita Badziakouski. Adams had defended for 120,000 in the big blind with , spiking bottom pair on a flop. Badziakouski on the button (with ) bet 120,000 when Adams checked to him, got a call and fired again on the turn. Again, Badziakouski check-called. The river brought the and no further betting. “Pair,” offered Adams.
“Better pair,” returned Badziakouski.
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